Wallabies mauled by Scotland in Stephen Moore’s farewell Test
A defiant Michael Cheika insists his Wallabies side is progressing well ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup despite slumping to a record-breaking 53-24 loss to Scotland in Stephen Moore's final Test appearance.
Reduced to 14 men following Sekope Kepu's red card for a shoulder charge to the head of Hamish Watson on the stroke of half-time, the impressive Scots took full advantage to run in eight tries at Murrayfield.
It was the biggest victory by Scotland over a southern hemisphere nation and comfortably eclipsed their previous largest winning margin of nine points against the Wallabies in 1981.
Despite being blown away by the impressive home side, Cheika said his team was still a work in progress, with young prop Taniela Tupou becoming the latest debutant since the 2015 World Cup.
"We're over here with about 10 or 12 guys but he could be in in the mix for this squad without a doubt," he said.
"Over the last two years we've looked to add some depth to our squad which we didn't have. We had our 27th debutant since the World Cup. A lot of those guys are in and around the squad.
"Maybe we are too young? A big thing for us is to look to improve our mindset. Get away from not fully believing we can do the job regardless of the conditions.
"I think we've worked really well about not using excuses for ourselves and taking the hard road as we have all year and that will come back and tell for us for sure."
Cheika pays tribute to 'genuine' Moore
A veteran of three Rugby World Cups and with 129 international appearances to his name, Moore departs the game as the second most-capped Wallabies player behind George Smith.
Cheika said although the heavy defeat was not how the team wanted to send out the former Reds and Brumbies rake, it would not detract from an outstanding career.
"I don't think a player's career is summarised by one match, any match or a moment in the game," Cheika said.
"His attitude and character will be imprinted on this squad going forward. I've been lucky to have him involved from 2015 and beyond.
"He is a genuine authentic Wallaby, he loves Australia, it hurts him when the team is not seen in the right light and he will do anything for the team to be at the top.
"Considering our situations over the last few years he has been an outstanding help to me. We've had a lot of battles, on and off the field, and he's kept the team up and hungry all the time."
Kepu's dismissal turned the match on its head, with the Wallabies leading 12-10 at the time following two quickfire tries from Tevita Kuridrani.
Cheika did not disagree with the decision but refused to single Kepu out for any blame.
"I don't think it was the story of the game. I thought we still could have won with 14 to be honest," Cheika said.
"The referee really didn't have much alternative. But just for a point of view for Kepu, he's got no intent to take the player in the head."